Saturday, April 30, 2011

Get Stacked - a New Quilt!

First off, I would really like to thank everyone for the comments that were left on my last post! I thought that I might get a bit of flack for the things I said, but really most people seemed to agree with me so that makes me feel much better for laying it all out there the way that I did! You guys totally rock and I'm glad that I'm not alone in thinking that some of the stuff going on right now is pretty ridiculous.

Enough about that though, who wants to see my new quilt?! This little quilt is pretty simple - just how I like it - and I think that it is the colours that really make it!

"Get Stacked" features prints from Tula Pink's Nest collection paired with Kona Coal - I think the Coal really sets off the colours used in Nest and the contrast between them is even more beautiful in real life. I originally had a completely different idea for using up this Nest and was lying the prints on various solids to pick the right one; when I laid them out on the Coal I was struck by how well they worked together and decided to scrap my original idea and go for something a bit simpler.

The strips are all different lengths and widths so as to give a look of evenness without being actually symmetrical. I think this adds some visual interest to the quilt and creates breaks between the colours and prints that is anticipated but not wholly expected.

I quilted it using somewhat straight lines - that is to say that I used my piecing as a guide but did not force the quilting to remain uniform, I just allowed by walking foot to kind of do its own thing without straying too far from its original course.

The back is pieced using a large scale print from Nest, some Kona Medium Gray, and the strip dividing them is from Tula Pink's Plume collection. As you can see form this picture and the ones above I also used the Kona Coal for the binding because I didn't want to create a break on the front by using something different.

This quilt really was for me an experimentation of sorts and I really like the way that it turned out! It ended up finishing at about 41x42" and I used 100% unbleached cotton (Naturally Cotton I believe it's called) for the batting.

I've decided to put this little quilt up for sale in my Etsy shop to hopefully raise a little spending money for Quilt Market - less than two weeks away guys!!! I also have a few more bundles of destash to put up on Etsy but I'm not sure I'll get to that today.

Let me know what you guys think of my quilt - I'd love to know! Alright, off to work I go!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some Thoughts that Have Been Swirling Around for Awhile...

So I originally had an entirely different post to share with you all - one involving a new quilt and everything! - but that will have to wait until my next post because I want to share something else with y'all right now. There have been a few things within the quilting/sewing/crafting/blogging world over the past few months that I've been thinking about but wasn't sharing because I didn't want to be too controversial or stray away from the normal format of this here little blog. But a recent post from Rachel has changed that for the moment so I'm opening up a little. I only just heard about Rachel's post today and the controversy that erupted in (and because of some of) the comments left because I haven't been keeping up on my blogs as much lately (more on that in a bit); in a nutshell (in case you want to stay with me for a bit before heading on over to Rachel's to read), Rachel outlined a few confessions about some fabric lines she didn't like, mentioned that she wasn't so keen on Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl pattern, and was generally just being open and truthful about a few things. She also invited others to leave their own "confessions" in the comments and I guess that is where things started to get a bit nasty - I totally love the idea of people leaving confessions there but some people (in my humble opinion) went a bit far and didn't seem to realize that there really are people behind those lines/patterns/blogs.

In this vein I have a couple of things I want to say, "confessions" of my own if you will, if y'all will bear with me. But, just so that this post is not completely devoid of pictures (and maybe to perk up your interest a bit for my new quilt), here's a little sneaky peeky of the quilt for my next post!

Okay, so here goes...

I absolutely despise it when people say "not your grandma's such and such" in the crafting world; I think this is one of the most disrespectful things that you can say when it comes to creativity and craft and frankly it's a whole lotta bull too! There are a couple of businesses that use it in a tongue-in-cheek way but I still think it's pretty rude and ridiculous. My Grandma was the one who taught me to use a sewing machine in the first place, and although the clothes and things that she made may not be my style (although they have also been back in style at different points over the years) I would never put down her talent, hard work, creativity, or love of creating things with such a demeaning and snippity remark. Every creative idea that is going around today has been build upon the things that our grandmothers, and their grandmothers before them, have made and, in many cases, the skills that we have learned from them (or other "older" people in our lives). You may use different fabrics, use different (shall we say more risque?) motifs, be subversive, or just wonk things up in funky, fun ways but that does not mean that you invented "X" craft, nor does it give you the right to be snobby, persnickety, or sometimes just downright mean-spirited in regards to their handwork.

In the same vein, this whole "modern vs. traditional" quilting thing has really raised my hackles. I'm sorry but I didn't realize that we as quilters had sanctioned a group of people to be the quilt police! As president of a modern quilt guild I have a lot to say on this subject (but I will spare you all of the my thoughts and the curse words that go along with them here) and the fact of the matter is that there are members of my guild who make things that might not be considered "modern" by other members of the community, or use fabrics that are "old lady" (again, I hate that one too), or batiks, or whatever but heck(!) I'm not going to tell them that they're not modern enough for us and kick them out of the guild! If they think what they are doing is modern than they can go right ahead and keep on doing it and I will cheer for them and admire their amazing work along with everyone else. I really don't get the whole modern vs. traditional thing, same as with the above ranting about putting down the grandmas, it's all built on the same foundation and we can all learn so much from each other. Personally I have had some bad experiences with some of the more traditional quilters who thought that I didn't belong in the quilt world (I talked a bit about this in this post), but I'm not about to start bad mouthing their talent and achievements.

And dang if this whole "modern vs. traditional" thing hasn't sparked even more issues related to the "dumbing down" of quilting. Many of you have probably heard all about this already, and just so that you all know I have actually spoken with the lady who wrote the original post and I don't think she meant to hurt anyone's feelings nor do I think that a lot of the negative stuff that has been said about her is true - from my point of view the title was VERY unfortunate, but I think that some of what she said really did have merit and much of it was blown out of proportion by others *ahem*. I do however find that some of the comments made in regards to this topic were unjust and again just mean. Yes, some patterns that you can buy are fairly simple but if someone wants to sell them and someone else is willing to buy them then more power to them. Some people don't have the time or the desire to figure out the math or requirements themselves, others are beginners and feel more comfortable using a pattern that is written for them in easy to follow steps, some see a quilt and want to make it exactly the same with the same fabric, and even more just want to quilt and not worry about anything else. Are these reasons wrong? Heck no! Are the people who buy simple patterns less of a quilter? Again, I say heck no! I don't think this is dumbing down quilting at all, and I don't think the people who like simple, geometric patterns (which as you've noticed I prefer myself) should not be considered less than.

Okay, so those were the big three! I get ranty when I'm all tizzied and hopped up on coffee, don't I?! Here are a few smaller ones:

I have not been keeping up with my blog reading as much lately. I have been super-busy with finishing my Masters, working, and getting some designing in (guys, I have so much I want to share with you but am not allowed - and gosh some of it I can't even share for another year, eeeep!) and really, I kinda feel terrible about it. I feel really bad when I do eventually see a post where someone made something that was truly amazing but it's weeks later and I never commented (especially when it's my friends that do the excellent making). I not only feel like a bad friend, but I also feel like I'm not supporting my community and those who have supported me.

I share many things about my personal life on this here blog (many have mentioned to me that liked following along with me as I went through graduate school and rooted for me the whole way), but I don't always mention the really bad things. On occasion I mention something that's not so bright and sunny, but I don't want my blog to be a space of negativity (although I think some of you may be shaking your heads at me now after my giant rant above) and I don't want people to think I'm being fake because of this. Sure, life is not all sunshine and rainbows and my life is far from perfect (and I never try to make you guys think that it is - you know unreasonable expectations and all that) but I want you guys to come here and like being here with me.

I take pride in the work that I do and the things that I create for others and it really does hurt when they don't seem to appreciate them. I have decided that from now on unless people have shown genuine gratitude and/or interest in the things that I have made them, than I am just not doing it anymore. This may seem selfish to some but we all know that crafting is time consuming and not cheap, so if someone would be happier with a store bought gift than so be it.

I am a comment-whore (that is probably the first time in Miss Print history that the "w" word has shown up here...sorry folks, I guess I just went a bit beyond my usual G-rating)... I really do love it when I get comments from you, really really LOVE it! I obviously don't make things to get comments from you guys, but man does it ever feel good when someone tells me that they love something I made. And no, this is not me asking you guys to comment more, I'm just laying it all out there.

Seriously, this post just got super-long and I feel bad for making y'all read it so I'll just end it there. I know that some of you might not have agreed with some (or all) of the things that I have said and that I'm probably going to get some flack over this, but I don't mind that at all. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me since I finally got up the courage to share some of my thoughts with you guys.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yarn prettiness and the giveaway winners!

I mentioned in my last post that I had some seriously gorgeous yarn to share with you all - well here it is! The pictures don't quite do this yarn justice, but man is it gorgeous! All of the yarn came from Eat.Sleep.Knit. which I can not recommend more highly! Seriously, if you love yarn (and especially if you love hand-dyed yarn which is all they sell) go on over there - you will not regret it. They also included some fun little extras in my order; one of the things they include is a cute scratch card where if you match three symbols you can win money off your next order, skeins of yarn, or a mitten kit - I won a skein of Malabrigo (yum!) in the base and colour of my choice!

This is the Malabrigo from my order - I order three skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in Paris Night which I'm thinking of using to make myself a Shalom Cardigan (there are some mods on Ravelry that I found for converting the pattern for use with the Malabrigo) and one skein of Malabrigo Lace in Frost Gray which I'm thinking will either go towards the Swallowtail Shawl or another lace shawl pattern.

And this is the Madelinetosh from my order - I got one skein of Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Kale which I think will be used for the 198 Yards of Heaven shawl and one skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Tern which does not have a specific project attached yet but I have a few ideas (maybe Haruni?)! The pictures on the Eat.Sleep.Knit site show the colours much better - geez, yarn is hard to take good photos of!

Oh ya, before I forget! Eat.Sleep.Knit also has the really neat program called Yarnathon where you can earn prizes and stuff for hitting milestones through shopping - they add up the number of yards of yarn you buy and than convert them into miles (there are 1760 yards in a mile) so when you hit your first mile you get a welcome pack and there are milestones after that like when you hit 5k you get a $20 gift certificate. I seriously love fun programs like these and they really make me want to keep shopping. And before anyone asks, no Eat.Sleep.Knit did not ask me to say any of this, nor are they paying me - I just really, REALLY like them! I always like to give a little shout out to shops that treat their customers well!

Okay, okay, I guess you'd like to know who won the giveaway right? I know, me blabbing on about yarn is nowhere near as exciting as who won the patterns.

The winner of group one, that would be the Madison Bag and the Dorm Room Diva Pillows patterns, is:

 Jacqueline of Handmade with Love

And, the winner of group two, that would be the St Mary Backpack and the Farmhouse Funk Pillows patterns, is:

Congratulations ladies! Be sure to email me with your addresses so that I can pop those patterns in the mail to you! And once again, a big thank you to Trish of Two Peas in a Pod for donating the patterns!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today. -Brendan Francis

Thank you so much for all the congratulations' on finishing my Masters and for entering my little giveaway (the giveaway is open until next Thursday and you can find it here)! Also, I forgot to mention in my last post but also thank you to everyone who has purchased my little pattern "Itching to be Stitching" from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - I really appreciate all the support and hope that you'll show me your stitching when it's completed! Hmmm, what do you guys think about me starting a Flickr group where you could show off the things you've made using my tutorials and patterns? Let me know if that's something you'd like!

A big congratulations goes out to my lovely friend and "twin" Kate on the birth of her little girl Grace! I am so proud of you Kate and I wish you all the joy in the world with your new little beauty.

I've been busy sewing up a few things, but unfortunately (and geez, I hate having to keep saying this) I can't share much of it with you guys! Buuuuttttt, I can share a little giftie that I made for a friend's birthday last week.

I made this little clutch using Amy Butler's pattern "Clutch Purse with Antique Pin Closure" which can be found for free on the Better Homes and Gardens website. I used a print from Denyse Schmidt's County Fair line for the outside and a pale yellow solid (very close to the yellow medallions on the outer print) for the interior. As You can see I did not use an antique pin on the closure (which actually fastens with velcro) but rather sewed a large button to the flap.

One of the really neat things about this clutch pattern is that the front closure band actually comes around all the way to the back to form a handle (it is stitched down near the top of the clutch so that the front closure stays snug but the back forms the strap). I think this is a really great design feature because part of the reason that I rarely use clutches is the whole "clutching-all-the-time" aspect; if you have smaller hands and wrists like me you could actually slip this clutch right onto your wrist if you were dancing or doing something where you were worried you'd drop your bag.

The top corners of the clutch also fold in giving it a nice shape and a little room to expand. One of the things that I did differently from the pattern was to omit the interfacing because I was using a home dec weight fabric and the pattern called for quilting weight cotton. I did however still include the canvas between the outer and lining layers; the bag is not quite as stiff as I would have liked, but I think it would have been too stiff with the weight of interfacing called for. If I were to make this using home dec weight fabric again I would include the interfacing but maybe go down to a heavy-weight or medium-weight for a rigid but flexible clutch.

I have some seriously awesome yarn to share with you guys and my haul from Spring Creativ Festival (which my mum and I just went to yesterday), but I think I'll save those for the next post! Hope you're all having a lovely weekend so far - I'm off to work pretty soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I've Been Up To and a Giveaway!!!!

So I haven't been around these parts for the last little bit (I know, bad blogger, I'm sorry), but there is a reason, I swear! Would you like to know what it is?! Well, here ya go...

That's right people! For the last little bit (it's not been quite  two weeks since I last blogged) I've been busy, busy finishing up all of my final papers and research, and now I am done! I handed in my last paper on Monday and it felt good! My official convocation isn't until June but I'm done all of requirements, so I'm calling myself a Master of Information now (and yes, that is actually what my degree is called)! What do y'all think about that?!

In honour of my finishing (and the fact that you will no longer have to hear me moaning about needing to complete papers), let's have a little giveaway, shall we? You all know my lovely friend Trish who owns Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs, right? Well, she sent along some goodies just for you! I have four patterns to give away to two lucky winners...

This is group one which includes both the Madison Bag pattern and the Dorm Room Diva Pillows pattern.

And this is group two which includes both the St. Mary Backpack pattern and the Farmhouse Funk Pillows pattern - remember you can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger if you want some detail shots!

All patterns are also available through Trish's Etsy shop (check it out to see some more of her patterns) and they are also being sold and distributed by a number of quilt shops and companies (*ahem* McCall's *ahem*) so if you don't win my little giveaway you'll still be able to pick these babies up!

Here's what you need to do to be eligible to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me which group of patterns
you'd like to win (and if you feel so inclined you could
congratulate me on completing my Masters, hahaha!)
2. If you are a follower, or if you become one, leave a second
comment and you will be entered a second time.

There you go - two chances to win! Please remember to leave two separate comments for each entry or yours will only be counted as one - also, remember that I have comment moderation set so if your comment doesn't appear right away it just means that I haven't approved it. I'll announce the winner of the giveaway here on the blog next Thursday!

Who wants to come up to Toronto to celebrate with me?! Or, if you're going to Quilt Market next month, maybe we could all get together and have a little party - yes please!


Friday, April 1, 2011

New Pattern Release and a French Knot Tutorial!

Hi all! So it's Friday and I promised I'd be back to share something very exciting and fun, so here I am! You know The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, owned by the super-talented Amanda and Ashleigh, right? Well, they approached me a few months ago about being a guest designer at The Frosted Pumpkin and I am happy to say that my first cross stitch pattern for them, Itching to be Stitching, is being released today! How exciting is that??!!

Itching to be Stitching features cute sewing notions including a vintage-inspired sewing machine, buttons, thread, and the ubiquitous tomato pincushion! The pattern itself features a colour chart, list of colours you'll need, and a very handy stitch guide. Since this is the first Frosted Pumpkin pattern to feature french knots (leave it up to me to throw a little wrench in), they are not included in the stitch guide, however I offered to write a little tutorial with photos that you can find below.

Itching to be Stitching is available for purchase from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery as a PDF download and I am here to answer any questions you might have about the pattern. I am so excited to be working with Amanda and Ashleigh (and didn't Ashleigh do just a fabulous job with the pattern cover? I love it!) on such a fun project, and can not thank them enough for asking me to come on-board for a little bit - I think I've now officially earned the nickname Kaye Pumpkin ;)

Cross Stitch French Knot Tutorial

So I stitched up the little tomato pincushion from the pattern for you to demonstrate the french knot technique - as you can see the french knots are used to create the heads on the pins. And remember, you can make any of the pictures larger by clicking on them! Oh, and just as a note, I use three strands of floss rather than the normal two (this will effect the size of your french knot).

Using the specified colour, bring your floss up through the aida using the same hole where you finished stitching the pin.

Bring the floss all the way through. Now wrap the floss three times around the bottom half of your needle. Note to self: paint fingernails before taking closeups of your hands next time!

Holding the excess tread taut, but not tight, with your left thumb (if you stitch right-handed) use your right hand to put the needle down through the hole diagonally opposite (i.e you brought your needle up through the bottom left hole of the square, put it down through the top right hole of the square). Keep holding the floss taut with your left thumb as you pull it through the knot - don't pull too tight or you could cause the knot to pop through the hole and onto the back of your aida.

And you're done! There are a few different ways to do a french knot (some people use one hole to come up and then go back down at the centre point of the square, and others use a colonial knot for cross stitch instead) - this is just the way I do them! If you like to do your french knots a little differently or would like to use a different knot altogether - go ahead! It's all part of the fun of cross stitching!

I'd really love to hear your thoughts on Itching to be Stitching and I hope y'all like it! And don't worry, if you like this pattern, I may just have a few more things up my sleeve!